Our Company Blog
As a rule, the only time we really want mold in our lives is when we order blue cheese dressing. But unfortunately, we’re sometimes met with the unfortunate reality of finding mold in our homes — including in and around our chimneys.
Clients sometimes notice mold problems in the walls or ceilings around the chimney; sometimes A to Z technicians discover mold issues during a chimney sweeping or chimney inspection. However it’s found, one thing is always the same: It needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Rules Of Thumb For Dealing With Mold
If you notice mold growth around your chimney, take care not to touch it with your bare hands, and do your best not to breathe around it without a mask protecting you. Certain molds have toxic spores that can cause respiratory problems and other kinds of illness, so mold remediation is best left to the pros.
Truly clearing up a mold issue related to your chimney, however, means finding the source of the moisture that’s leading to the mold problem to begin with. If the mold is around your chimney, odds are your mold is the result of a chimney leak, and A to Z technicians specialize in leak troubleshooting.
What’s Causing Your Water Problem?
Chimney systems are designed to hold up well against the constant onslaught of sun, rain and snow, but certain parts of the system are prone to getting beat up by the weather. The only way to know for sure what’s leading to your water intrusion is for A to Z techs to thoroughly inspect your system. But a few common culprits:
Damaged Or Missing Chimney Cap
Without a functioning chimney cap, your flue opening is just that: wide open. And that means moisture can get right into your flue, potentially damaging your flue liner and seeping through to the masonry and building materials beyond, leading to moist drywall, and mold.
Cracked Chimney Crown
A chimney crown is designed and installed to route water away from your flue opening and chimney, but if the effects of heat, cold and moisture cause it to crack, that gives water easy access to your chimney’s interior, and your home’s interior.
The only thing keeping water from getting in where your chimney meets the roofline is flashing — so if flashing gets torn or torn off in bad weather, water can make its way right in there.
Bricks and mortar are durable, but if you have an older chimney, there’s a good chance your masonry is beginning to degrade. Intact masonry absorbs a small amount of water, but degraded masonry absorbs far more — almost sucking it in like a sponge. That can quickly lead to moisture damage inside the home, and mold growth. Properly repairing damaged masonry depends on the specific damage — we might recommend tuckpointing receded mortar joints, or with spalling bricks, we might need to replace them. We highly recommend having us apply a waterproofing sealant to masonry chimneys — that can make a big difference in halting leaks, and halting mold growth.
If you have a mold problem around your chimney, don’t stress — A to Z is here to help. Give us a call, and we’ll set you up with our experienced, CSIA-certified technicians!
What’s the biggest danger your chimney faces? Many people assume that a chimney fire is the biggest risk your chimney faces. In fact, chimney water damage is far more of a threat. Water damage to your chimney can cause cracks and leaks, and even deteriorate your chimney to the point of threatening its structural integrity. Water is so damaging to a chimney, in fact, that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has declared water chimney’s No. 1 enemy and cautions homeowners to do all they can to protect their chimney’s from water damage. Here are some things you can do to keep your chimney safe.
Put a cap on your chimney.
All chimneys should be outfitted with a chimney cap. A chimney cap shelters your chimney’s flue from falling precipitation. Without a chimney cap in place, water can flow down into your chimney every time it rains, causing damage to your chimney flue and creating damaging puddles in the bottom of your chimney. Installing a chimney cap is the CSIA’s primary recommendation from protecting your chimney from water damage.
Check your chimney crown.
In addition to a chimney cap, a chimney crown helps to prevent water from entering your chimney flue. However, many chimney crowns are improperly constructed from the wrong materials. A chimney crown should slope downward away from the opening of the chimney flue to direct water down away from the chimney flue opening. Your certified chimney sweep can check your chimney crown to verify that it’s been properly constructed to protect your chimney.
Address chimney damage immediately.
Chimney damage leads to more chimney damage. Cracks in your chimney’s masonry or in your chimney crown allows water to gain further access to your chimney and cause more damage. If you notice cracks in your chimney or chimney crown, if you notice that mortar has become soft and begun to crumble away, or if you notice signs that water is leaking into your home in or around your chimney, have the chimney inspected and repaired as soon as possible to prevent water from damaging your chimney or your home further.
Have your chimney waterproofed.
According to www.watermoldfire.net, one of the best preventative measures you can take to protect your chimney from water damage is to have your chimney waterproofed. Masonry materials are porous; they naturally absorb water, which can cause chimney damage. A chimney waterproofing solution can block 99 percent of water from entering your chimney while still allowing your chimney’s masonry to breath and exhaust the smoke and moisture created by your fireplace. Waterproofing your chimney can help keep your chimney protected from water damage for years.
Water can seriously damage your chimney. That damage can spread to your home, and it can compromise the integrity of your chimney, putting your home at risk for smoke or fire damage. A to Z Chimney Services can help keep your chimney and your home safe from water damage. Call today to schedule an appointment to have your chimney inspected to determine if it’s at risk for water damage!
Most homeowners save chimney maintenance for the fall, but they’re missing out on an opportunity. Summer is actually the perfect time to have your chimney swept and inspected, for several reasons.
The soot that forms in your chimney when you burn a fire in your fireplace is highly corrosive. Leaving that soot in place all summer, long after you’ve burned your last fire, allows the soot to eat away at your fireplace and chimney. A summertime sweeping ensures that harmful soot is removed before it can erode your fireplace and chimney components.
Keep Damage from Worsening
Winter’s strong winds and heavy rains can take a toll on your chimney.
- Chimney caps can be blown off kilter or damaged,
- Chimney masonry can develop cracks or weaknesses,
- And chimney crowns or chase covers can crack or corrode.
Any damage sustained during the winter can let water seep into your chimney, causing even more damage. When you have a summertime sweeping and inspection, your chimney sweep can spot damage early, and you can have your chimney repaired before damage can worsen or spread.
Prevent Chimney Odors
Does your chimney ever stink? Unpleasant chimney odors are common summertime problems. When heat and humidity hit your chimney, anything lurking inside can begin smell and fill your home with an unpleasant, embarrassing odor. A summertime chimney sweeping removes the various causes of chimney odors, from creosote to animals nests, saving you from a foul odor you otherwise can’t rid your home of.
Leave Time for Repairs
When you wait until fall to have your chimney swept and inspected, you’re operating under the assumption that your chimney will need a quick sweep, and your fireplace will be ready to use as soon as you’re ready to use it. But what if your chimney sweep spots damage that needs to be repaired? If you wait until the fall to have your chimney swept and inspected, you might find the need for chimney repairs delaying your use of your fireplace. A summertime chimney sweeping and inspection ensures that you have plenty of time for needed repairs.
Beat the Fall Rush
Another benefit of scheduling a summertime chimney sweeping and inspection is convenience. When you schedule a cleaning during the chimney sweep’s offseason, you can schedule your service quickly and on your own time. By scheduling a summertime sweeping, you can avoid waiting weeks for a chimney sweep or having to choose an appointment time that’s not convenient for your schedule.
If you’re ready to schedule your summertime chimney sweeping, call A to Z Chimney Sweep to schedule an appointment today! We’ll clear away damaging soot and creosote, remove any odor-causing chimney debris, help you spot damage and plan repairs. We’ll get your chimney swept and inspected quickly and conveniently so your fireplace is ready for you to use come fall!
When spring brings warmer temperatures and damp weather, many homeowners are faced with an unpleasant surprise: Foul odors from their chimney. When your home smells, it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. To keep chimney odors out of your home, you need to understand and address the source of the smell; often, a simple chimney cleaning or a chimney deodorizer won’t get rid of the problem.
Chimney odors can indicate moisture entering your chimney through the chimney opening or through a leak in the chimney wall. When moisture comes into contact with the soot and creosote in your chimney, it can fill your home with a strong wood-burning smell. Moisture also can cause mold or mildew to form within your chimney, and fill your home with unpleasant damp odors. To help resolve odors caused by moisture, have your chimney fitted with a sturdy chimney cap. The chimney cap keeps water from running down your flue. If your chimney emits odors that seem to be caused by moisture, have the chimney inspected to make sure your chimney isn’t leaking.
Animals are another common cause of chimney odors. Animals make their way into your chimney either by accident or to find shelter. Once they are inside your chimney, animals can cause a host of smells. The organic material used to build nests can decay, leaving behind a compost smell. Animals can leave droppings or bits of food. Trapped animals can die within the chimney, which can lead to a horrible rotting smell. Once an animal is inside your chimney, you will have to have it professionally removed. After the removal, you should get your chimney professionally cleaned. In the case of animal intrusions, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: A chimney cap surrounded by a cage or a top-sealing damper can keep animals from entering your chimney in the first place.
An unprotected chimney also can house natural debris, which can decompose in the chimney and cause foul odors to filter into your home. If you don’t have an enclosed chimney cap or a top-sealing damper, leaves and twigs can fall into your chimney, forming blockages that can rot and smell. If you have debris in your chimney, you will need to have the chimney swept. For a long-term solution, protect your chimney with a cap or top-sealing damper.
Regardless of the interior cause of your chimney odor, there is one element that is always to blame for chimney odors filling your home: improper chimney drafting. If odors from your chimney are filling your home, that means that the air inside your chimney is being pulled down into your home. This is a common problem in weatherproofed homes, where the chimney and fireplace can’t get enough air to properly draft up. Your chimney sweep can help you find a solution to improper drafting, and a top-sealing damper or sealed fireplace doors can help keep odors out of your home.
If your chimney is filling your home with unpleasant smells, you don’t have to suffer through it! Call A to Z Chimney Services today. We’ll find the source of your chimney odor and help you find a solution to your odor problem.
Have you been told that your chimney is in need of repair? Have you noticed that your chimney is looking worse for the wear? You might be wondering when is the best time to have your chimney repaired? That time is now!
There are several reasons spring is ideal for scheduling chimney repairs, including:
• Warmer, dryer weather. The No. 1 reason spring is the best time for chimney repairs is warmer, dryer weather. Many chimney repairs, particularly masonry repairs, cannot ideally be performed in cold or wet weather. As cold winter weather yields to sunny spring days, you can finally have your chimney damage taken care of.
• The frequency of winter chimney damage. No season is harder on your chimney than winter. During the winter, your chimney deals with the excess heat of your fireplace. Winter brings a lot of wet weather and colder temperatures. All of those extreme conditions can lead to a host of chimney problems. If your chimney has suffered damage over the winter months, you will want to have your chimney repaired as soon as possible. That makes spring ideal for chimney repairs.
• Easier scheduling. Chimney companies’ schedules fill up fast once cooler weather hits. When you schedule your chimney repairs in the spring, you have the best chance of having your chimney repairs scheduled and completed quickly. That means you won’t have to worry that you won’t have to miss out on enjoyment of your fireplace this fall because you’re still waiting for your chimney repairs.
To have necessary chimney repairs completed this spring, you should know what chimney repairs you need. That’s why it’s a good idea to perform a quick visual inspection of your fireplace and chimney each spring. Once the weather clears up, examine the exterior of your chimney.
Look for cracks, crumbling or gaps in the masonry, discoloration or rust on the sides of the chimney and any signs of leaning or misalignment in the chimney. If you are able to access chimney rooftop, or to view it from the ground or a window, check to make sure your chimney cap remains undamaged and in place, your chimney crown or chase cover is free from damage and your flashing remains snug against the base of your chimney and doesn’t have any cracks or signs of corrosion. Inside your home, you will want to check for cracks in the firebox, rust on the damper, fireplace doors or fire grate and signs of water damage on the walls and ceiling surrounding the chimney.
Because spring is the ideal time for chimney repairs, it’s also the ideal time for a chimney sweeping and inspection.
If you schedule your chimney inspection for the spring, hire a certified chimney sweep. They will be able to spot any repairs your chimney or fireplace will need to undergo before the next fire-burning season. A spring inspection ensures plenty of time to have your chimney repaired and ready for the fall.
If you need chimney repairs or would like to have your chimney inspected by a professional this spring, call 916-850-2446 today!
November ushers in the start of the holiday season. That means hectic schedules filled with shopping, family gathering and parties. It also means chillier nights spent gathered around the warm glow of your hearth. If you haven’t had your annual chimney sweeping and inspection yet, your busy holiday schedule could prevent you from enjoying your fireplace. Have your chimney swept now, before your schedule gets in the way, so your fireplace is ready for your holiday gatherings and chilly nights spent at home!
Don’t risk lighting a fire before your chimney has been cleaned and inspected.
Home fires caused by chimneys and fireplaces cause an average of 22,300 home fires each year, resulting in $97 million in damage and 20 deaths, according to statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In most cases, chimney fires could have been prevented with a chimney sweeping and inspection.
The sweeping itself removes hazardous materials, such as creosote, animal nests or debris, that can ignite when the fireplace is in use. The inspection can locate weaknesses in the chimney structure or fireplace that could lead to a home fire. That’s why the National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys should be swept and inspected annual to lower the risk of a home fire. Ideally, you should have your chimney swept and inspected before you light your first fire of the season.
In addition to dramatically reducing your risk of a chimney or house fire, your annual chimney sweeping and inspection can help protect your family from dangerous carbon monoxide. Blockages within the chimney or malfunctions in your fireplace can cause carbon monoxide to build up within your home, putting your family and your pets at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Your chimney sweeping will make sure your chimney is free from obstructions, and during your inspection, your chimney sweep will check to make sure your fireplace or heating stove is functioning properly.
Schedule your chimney sweeping with A to Z Chimney Services today!
Get your chimney ready for the holiday season by scheduling your annual sweeping and inspection with A to Z Chimney Services. When you hire our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps to service your chimney and fireplace, you can trust that you are getting well-trained professionals who will properly care for your chimney and your home.
Every one of our chimney sweepings ends with a ChimScan video chimney inspection, so you can be confident that your chimney is free from debris and free from any structural weaknesses that could put your home at risk. If there is a problem with your chimney, you will be able to see it clearly on the inspection video, and our sweeps will be able to help you find the right strategy for addressing any problems with your fireplace or chimney. And our no-mess guarantee means that you won’t have to worry about cleaning up after our sweeps.
Enjoy your fireplace without worry this holiday season. Call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection today!